Eight tips for preventing travelers traveling to countries with high levels of viral hepatitis.
Travelers traveling to developing countries risk picking up hepatitis. Several of its species are distinguished. The most dangerous are hepatitis A, B and C.
Hepatitis A spreads through the fecal-oral route, that is, through the use of food and water, as well as through household objects and close contact with the patient. Full cure is required from several weeks to several months.
Hepatitis B and hepatitis C are transmitted with infected blood (hepatitis C can also be transmitted to other body fluids), through sexual contact with the patient, and also as a result of general use of such items as manicure scissors, razors or syringes (from addicts).
Here are the eight most important tips that will help minimize the risk of contracting hepatitis while traveling abroad.
Prevention of viral hepatitis: vaccination
Currently there are safe and effective vaccines against hepatitis A and B (a vaccine against hepatitis C has not yet been found). Some experts insist on the expediency of vaccination for all migrants from the country to prevent viral hepatitis.
Vaccination against hepatitis A is usually carried out in 2 stages with a break of 6 months. Vaccination of adults against hepatitis B takes place in 3 stages for 6 months, vaccination of children - in 3-4 stages for 6-18 months.
Adults can also make a combined vaccine for both types of hepatitis.
If the departure is approaching and the time does not stay, make at least the first vaccine, so you will receive at least partial immunity. Or ask your doctor about an expedited vaccination.
When you go to Canada, Japan, Western Europe or any other country where the disease is poorly distributed and sanitary conditions are at a decent level, you are practically at no risk.
When traveling to developing countries, be especially vigilant. There is a particularly high risk of infection in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, the Amazon Basin, and some Asian countries.
WHO, together with the Center for the Control and Prevention of Diseases in Atlanta, has created special maps that identify areas with a high prevalence of hepatitis A, B and C.
Wash your hands more often
More frequent hand washing helps prevent bacteria from entering the body through the mouth. Wash your hands in warm water and soap. Use an antibacterial gel after the toilet, change hygienic tampons and gaskets, as well as before eating. In unsanitary conditions, wrap the cranes and door handle with napkins or a paper towel before embarking on them.
See what you eat
Non-cooked foods - fruits, vegetables, salads, as well as dishes of raw meat and seafood (shellfish, lobster, oysters, shrimp) - can be sources of hepatitis B virus. In poor sanitary conditions, give preference to dishes that require heat treatment. Eat fresh vegetables and fruits only if you have cleaned them yourself.
Remember the golden rule: boil it, cook it, clean it, or throw it away. And do not buy food from street vendors.
Do not drink water from the tap
Water from the tap is another source of hepatitis in areas with a high rate of spread of the disease. To reduce the risk, buy drinking water in bottles and use it for drinking, dishwashing, vegetables and fruits. Do not add ice cubes to the drink until you make sure they are made of pure water.
Beware sex: the basics of preventing viral hepatitis
Since the main types of viral hepatitis are sexually transmitted, it would be nice to know some information about a potential sexual partner, especially if he/she comes from an area of hepatitis.
Externally, it's quite difficult to distinguish a hepatitis patient from a healthy person. Many people look healthy even at later stages of the disease. However, remember: the risk of getting infected is the highest of a partner who has a tattoo that takes drugs or lives in a disorderly sexual life.
Use latex condoms, avoid oral-anal contacts, rough sex, anal sex and any other actions that can lead to cuts and glands.
Fight sharp objects
Potentially dangerous dirty (used) needles for subcutaneous and intravenous injections, acupuncture needles and tools for tattooing and piercings.
With the slightest doubt in the sterility of needles, replace it. Agree on blood transfusions or any other internal infusion only if absolutely necessary. Surgical or dental intervention only makes sense if its potential benefit is several times greater than the risk of infection. For example, if injuries sustained as a result of an accident threaten the life of the patient, and he needs an urgent surgery.
Avoid contact with blood
Remember that the blood of any person can be infected. All contact with the blood of another person is dangerous to the infection with hepatitis B or C. If blood still falls on your skin, immediately wash off with water.